Ili Werung

Facts

  • Elevation: 1,047 m (3,435 ft)
  • Prominence: 368 m
  • Ribu category: Spesial
  • Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
  • Google Earth: kml
  • Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes) Add your rating
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  • Other names: Adowajo, Mauraja (see below)
  • Eruptions: Underwater flank vent Gunung Hobal 1870, 1910, 1928, 1948-52, 1973-74, 1983, 1993, 1999, 2013, 2021

Photos

Bagging It!

Ili Werung volcano forms the end of one of Lembata’s main southern peninsulas and is comprised of several peaks with different names. The caldera itself is known as the Lerek caldera although another name is used for this range – Adowajo. This also appears to refer to the range as a whole and is an ancient name. Ili Werung (or Iliwerung) itself is an impressive lava dome and crater which is thought to have been formed and growing since 1870. Ili Werung apparently means ‘new volcano’ in the local language.

It takes around 2 hours to reach the area by road from Lewoleba along highly variable and occasionally challenging road surfaces. To visit both the highest point for the spectacular views, and also the active crater area, can easily be accomplished as a day-trip from Lewoleba, but be sure to take sufficient water with you as there is very little shade to be found on the volcano.

Ili Werung itself is only around 596 metres high according to the Bakosurtanal map of the area. The highest peak in this area is the much higher mountain located around 2 kilometres to the north-west (and equally accessible from local villages). Bakosurtanal suggests Ile Mauraja as the name and 1,080m for the height, although our GPS device gave a reading of 1,047m at the top. This peak, Mauraja, is the main hiking objective of those who visit, and could be thought of as the highest point of the Lerek caldera or the ancient Adowajo volcano.

Mauraja is not (or no longer) active. Fumarole activity occurs at the much lower Ili Werung, but the centre of activity in the volcanic complex now is actually further south at Gunung Hobal, an undersea volcano 800 metres off the south coast. 

The trail to the highest peak (Mauraja) in the area starts in Desa Lerek (678m). There is, in 2021, a small wooden sign for a registration booth on the left side of the road. From here, follow the track upwards and onto some cement steps (740m) which lead a fair distance up the hillside (finishing at 791m). The main ridge (837m) is soon reached. From here, real care needs to be taken on occasionally dangerous ground, with slippery small rocks and near vertical drops on both sides. There are some old wooden posts to help guide hikers, but in 2021 almost all of these are weak or rotten.

A large rock (992m) comes just before the final push to the summit of Ili Mauraja (1,047m). A small stone with simple offerings of cigarettes marks the highest point. From here’s it’s another ten minutes along the narrow ridge to the viewpoint (1,005m) near the volcanology sensor equipment. Reaching Ili Werung crater from this side is not possible but it’s definitely the finest vantage point. Most hikers will have reached the top in around an hour.

Allow an hour to enjoy the views and about one hour to descend the same way, taking real care on the steep sections of scree. You may see Lewotolo (Ili Api), Ili Labalekang, and Ili Boleng (on Adonara island) in clear weather from the summit ridge.

Ili Werung crater itself can also be accessed from below. Follow the village road towards the coast and turn off to the left. A short stroll will take you to fumaroles. Indeed, local people have for a long time used the Watuwawer fumarole field for cooking. You can also hike up to the rim and peer into the crater but take real care on what might be unstable ground.

As mentioned above, there is an active underwater vent responsible for most of the recent activity. It is known as Hobal and is located about 800 metres off-shore. There is also a small dome on-shore but close to the coastline called Ili Grippe, apparently formed in 1948. Not connected to the volcano but devastating to the immediate local area, in 1979 there was a tsunami with over 500 killed and the village of Waiteba buried in landslides.

Bagging information by Dan Quinn (November 2021)

Nominated as a Spesial by Chris Whiting.

Practicalities

    • Getting there: To Lembata island by boat from Larantuka, Flores, or flight from Kupang. It takes 2 hours by road to reach Desa Lerek from Lewoleba.
    • Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Ili Werung information pack can be downloaded here.
    • Accommodation: There are several hotels in Lewoleba.
    • Permits: Register at the trailhead in Desa Lerek.
    • Water sources: None available – take sufficient supplies with you.
    • Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.

Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
maumere

Location

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

3 thoughts on “Ili Werung

  1. https://en.tempo.co/read/1533867/east-nusa-tenggara-underwater-volcano-triggers-one-meter-tsunami

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – A one-meter tsunami was detected in the area of Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara, on Sunday evening of November 28, which according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) was caused by an underwater volcano in the nearby ocean.

    Volcanic activities are constantly detected to this day but have yet to show any significant increase. PVMBG head of geology Andini in a statement today said local residents reported water levels had increased by one meter and reached 30 meters into the mainland.

    The volcanic eruption is specifically from the Watirar volcanic crater, which is part of the larger Ile Werung volcano complex located just one kilometer from the Hobal Volcano that erupted in 1973.

    “Considering that this eruption is a manifestation of the Ile Werung volcano, activities have been increased from Level 1 or normal to Level 2 or alert starting from November 29,” said Andini.

    The local observatory station recorded the first eruption on Sunday evening lasted for roughly one hour at 21:25 WITA and recurred at dawn at 05:17. The first wave of tsunami reportedly reached one meter and traveled 30 meters into the mainland following the first eruption.

    Smoke over the submarine volcanic eruption was still visible in observations on Monday morning and reached 100 meters above sea level.

    The sub-coordinator of Eastern Volcano Disaster Mitigation, Geological Agency, Devy Kamili Syahbana, confirmed that Sunday night’s tsunami was triggered by a volcanic eruption, and that the one-meter tsunami was considered shallow. There was no sea level rise in observations on Monday morning.

    The tsunami potential due to the eruptions of the Ile Werung volcanic complex is the second highest in the country. “This is the most frequent. The second after the Child of Krakatau,” Devy said.

  2. Landed at Lewoleba Airport to find the Bupati from somewhere or other was on the same flight, meaning a traditional Lembata welcome and lots of big vehicles at the airport. It is quite an approach – in clear weather the view of Ili Api / Lewotolo would be quite fabulous.

    It took us 2 hours on the bumpy roads to get to Desa Lerek. There is a registration book for Ili Werung, managed by Pak Frans, a very friendly chap, who may or may not accompany you up the hillside. Heading up in the afternoon like we did means you have the sun on your back, and I was feeling under the weather as it was, so it took me a ridiculous 2 hours to make it to the viewpoint beyond Mauraja summit. Normally it’d be half that! There are some slightly risky parts of trail so do take care on this one.

    Because of the late start and my lack of fitness, we ended up coming down in the dark, sliding on my backside was easier in some places!

    There are some very nice examples of traditional cloth for sale in the village – ask Pak Frans.

    If we’d had a bit more time we would have explored Werung crater area itself – now very accessible with a track right onto the volcanic sand.

    A worthwhile day out from Lewoleba.

    I was heading to Pantar the next day. Given the lack of advance notice of ferry timetables, chartering is the only real way to avoid waiting around 2 or 3 days for the next public boat. So I got the bus to Wairiang (first one seemed to be at 0730 from Terminal Timur, Lewoleba, arrived Wairiang 1015, cost a very reasonable 35k).The road starts very well but deteriorates later… perhaps by the year 2030 Lembata will have half decent roads!

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